Review: Tom Doughty – Have A Taste Of This

Posted on: Wednesday, Jan 6, 2010

Tom Doughty CD Cover


“Have A Taste Of This!”

(Corker Music: CD 003)

The marvellous Cheshire-based acoustic guitarist, Tom Doughty, has recently released “Have A Taste Of This!”, his third album, primarily blues-based but, as with his live shows, with lots of variety, embracing World Music, jazz, folk and more – his playing full of improvisation, with a quite delicious tone and feel to it, and his vocals warm and engaging.

Tom had to adapt to a lap style of guitar playing, after an accident on his motorcycle caused a spinal injury which left him permanently wheelchair-bound and actually stopped his fingers working properly, but tenaciously he learnt to play again, and is now without doubt in the top division of acoustic guitarists in these shores.

The thirteen tracks on offer here are a mix of Tom’s own songs and some personal favourites – a highlight being a gorgeous take on Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927”, with a heartfelt vocal and lovely slide work. The album opener “Way Down By The River” sees him in Mississippi Delta territory, the piece, as he says himself, is a “Charlie Patton inspired, free flowing improvised tune with lyrics that tell you where my life is at right now – fortunate and in a good place,” and a cracking opener!

The Rev. Gary Davis’s “Delia” is simply a lovely song – Tom admitting to being hooked on the song since he heard his good friend Woody Mann’s version, again more beautiful guitar work; the instrumental “Maggie’s Pies” – “composed in the little known tuning of steak and mushroom” – is full of intricate chords and slide, with a lovely melody line.

He dips into some vintage Bob Dylan in the shape of “Spanish Harlem Incident”, then gets to grips with policitical tension in the form of the hard-hitting “Zimbabwe” – as he says himself, “a reflection of my anger about injustice.” The following “Queen Of Tarts” is an altogether gentler tune, very haunting, and reminiscent of the great Northumbrian guitar player, Johnny Dickinson’s work, with an overdubbed melody forming a solo duet.

“One For My Baby” is an old jazz standard that featured in the record collection of Tom’s dad by Billy Holliday, here delivered in his own style with obligatory sweet guitar work. The closing “Jalesar Ghanta” is a development of “The Bell”, from his first album, with this cut inspired by a 2006 trip to Calcutta – the Indian feel on this again quite haunting, and a fitting end to a lovely album, from a supremely talented musician.


(All quotes from Tom’s own sleeve notes)

Tom Doughty

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